10 PURPOSE-DRIVEN STREETWEAR BRANDS WORTH KNOWING
Sometimes it is the brands under the radar making the greatest impact. We highlight 10 progressive brands who don’t sacrifice style while making our world a better place to live in. No one here is claiming perfection, but these are labels making the effort to explore and pioneer new techniques in design and good business. They each come from a different starting point, which makes it a whole lot easier to keep your look fresh while making a difference in the world.
With that in mind, here is a selection of a few purpose-driven streetwear labels to keep an eye out for.
HoMie is an Australian label that was created to address youth homelessness in Melbourne. Starting as a project to share the stories of Melbourne's homeless population, they quickly grew into becoming a streetwear label.
100% of HoMie’s profits go towards people experiencing homelessness or hardship. Not only are they socially conscious, but they are environmentally conscious as well. As of September 2018 their complete collection is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, ensuring local textile and clothing workers are paid appropriately and in safe working conditions.
From honing their craft with pedal press sewing machines and hot-coal irons in remote Cambodian villages, through to establishing their own production facility to train and employ women rescued from, and vulnerable to human trafficking and sexual violence, Outland Denim carries a unique story in every pair of jeans, crafted with a quality that is a testament to the dedicated skills acquisition and restored dignity of their makers.
Outland Denim look for an authority voice and force for good in a world where objective ‘truth’ has become increasingly less attainable. From owning their own production house, personally sourcing raw materials, through to being deeply invested in the wellbeing of each of their seamstresses, Outland Denim has created a brand with decisive environmental credentials and a passion for social change.
Noah, founded by the former creative director of Supreme, is an American men's clothing brand based out of New York City. Merging the rebellious vitality of skate, surf, and music cultures with an innovative appreciation of classic menswear, Noah seeks to take a stand against many of the appalling practices of the fashion industry.
“We believe in doing things our own way, with conviction, according to principles we determine ourselves. That’s the definition of punk rock to us, and we’re interested in the endless ways people from all walks of life manifest this attitude.”
Noah has released product to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement, written extensively about issues like pesticides and ocean pollution, and are constantly working to manufacture their product using sustainable practices.
Although they have been regularly identified as a sustainable brand, they do not claim to be. “To say we're sustainable would be a lie. To say we're doing a little more with each season would be the truth."
Born in France with their distinctive “V” branding and understated designs, you may have already encountered this sneaker brand numerous times. Veja are one of the most purpose-driven sneaker labels in fashion right now.
Looking slick as hell, these leather-free vegan models use organic cotton and sustainable natural Amazonian rubber. Veja refuses to work with any leather manufacturers from the Amazon, where cattle farming has been a major contributor to deforestation. Check them out.
New York, USA
Although Matthew Williams, a former creative director of Kanye West and Lady Gaga, has indicated that he designs ALYX collections with sustainability in mind, the sub-line ALYX Visual is different. Made exclusively in Italy with 100% upcycled materials from pre-loved garments and reclaimed plastic bottles to reproduce cotton rich yarn for new fabrication.
We never get tired of Patagonia and there is a reason for that. Their brutal honesty has earned them a lot of respect in the outdoor world. They make a point to show that their love of the natural world is about more than rain jackets and fleeces, but it wasn’t always that way.
Owning their imperfections, they openly admit that they haven’t gotten everything right in the past, and um…. who has?? What’s important is that they’re now working hard to make it right. From making sure their product is safely and ethically produced, reducing their impact on the environment and taking good care of their workers. It doesn’t stop there.
They’re even trying to discourage their customers from buying more product. As an alternative they are offering to restore Patagonia product to good as new with their Worn Wear program. Sometimes it’s nice not to be sold anything.
We know… we may be venturing a bit from streetwear to introduce this brand, but expression is everything in the streetwear culture and this workwear brand does just that. Why not mix it up?!
Trademutt is bold new workwear brand aimed at tackling mens suicide in Australia head on. The colourful shirts wear the logo ‘This is a conversation starter’ across the back. Not only do they literally start a conversation, which can be the first step to better mental health, but a proportion of every sale goes into funding mental health initiatives.
Designed for the trades, but can be worn by anyone.
BACK BEAT RAGS
Los Angeles, USA
The livin’s easy… so it makes sense to dress that way.
Back Beat Rags is a laid-back, street-ready basics line inspired by a surf-and-skate-filled West Coast lifestyle. The range uses a lot of fabrics that respect the environment and feel good on the skin. All the pieces are made in Los Angeles at facilities that founder, Isadora Alvarez, visits herself and lets her customers see inside. All the fabrics are knitted locally, and the pattern-making, sampling, sewing and dyeing all happen within three miles of each other.
The best part? They make their price-points super reasonable so everyone can afford their dope clothes.
Coreprêt, an experimental label emerging out of Melbourne, believes in continually searching for ways in which to lessen their impact on the environment and improve their ethical standards.
This is a brand that openly claims to not know everything. They do know that they will continue to be open to discussion and innovative ways of working.
Keep an eye on these guys.
Another emerging label from Melbourne, Salia Jac is a label that is always looking forward.
Envisioning a planet, where natural resources are treasured, where materials are sourced ethically and production empowers local communities – not destroys them.
They design for humans that take ownership and responsibility for the systems they support. Ones that understand that change begins with our choices.